Fire chief quits, several firefighters follow suit

Chief Brian Schmitt was under fire for not meeting the town’s firefighting certification requirements. WILSON, Wis. — A fire chief and several firefighters quit the fire department Tuesday. Earlier this year, town officials were debating whether or not to keep Wilson/Black River Fire Department Chief Brian Schmitt, who did not meet the town’s firefighting certification…

Has the fire service become its own patient?

A sense of entitlement and diminishing leadership are putting the fire service on life support. “Chief charged with embezzlement.” “Paramedic takes her life.” “Firefighters face discipline.” It doesn’t take a headline like those or a medical degree to realize the job of protecting lives and property takes a toll on firefighters. Cumulative stress, traumatic events…

Texas firefighter fired for refusing vaccination, sues city

Brett Horvath refused to get a shot for diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus; he said it was against his religious beliefs. LEANDER, Texas — A former firefighter is suing a city for firing him after he refused to get a vaccination due to his religious beliefs. The Austin-American Statesman reported that in February 2016 firefighter Brett…

5 other ways firefighters use thermal cameras

Handheld thermal imaging cameras do more than identify the seat of a structure fire; they’ve found a place in many emergency-response scenarios. In 2000, the Los Angeles Times called the thermal imaging camera, “perhaps the best advance in fire equipment in the last 25 years – and the most expensive.” The use of thermal imaging…

How to become an Air Force firefighter

Similar to becoming a civilian firefighter, there are qualifications you must meet to become an Air Force firefighter. There’s more to the Air Force than just flying airplanes — career options are endless. You can aim high by becoming an Air Force firefighter. Fire Protection specialists, according to the U.S. Air Force, deal with everything…

Rope rescue: 6 steps to rescuing victims at mid-height

Stranded victims are at high risk of suspension trauma, which can be fatal in as little as 30 minutes. Earlier this year in Texas two window washers became stranded on the side of a commercial building approximately 15 stories above ground. They were working off of a mobile scaffold which failed. Thankfully, the workers were…

How a 9/11 interview changed my perception of first responders

Trauma is an inherent part of their job, but their trauma is largely invisible to us. During my career as a journalist, I interviewed dozens of firefighters and cops. I went to the scene of fires that were still burning and talked to deputy captains after the fires were extinguished. I wrote about fatal accidents….

Learning firefighting from a legend

Chief Richard Tucker was cold and stern like a cross between Bobby Knight and Clint Eastwood, and his words were sharp and to the point. When I became a firefighter, I started at my local fire department in Marine City, Mich. It is a small town on the shores of the St. Clair River where…